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Wanderland’s Educational Adventures and Service Learning


Founded in 2009, Wanderland Travel is what Stewart Lasseter calls “intentional travel” and “adventure philanthropy”. Wandering with a Purpose! The not-for-profit company infuses a key mission into its programs: To provide educational travel that reveals and respects geography, culture, and history, while responsibly supporting and re- investing into local economies and environmental protection.


“I want to share the beautiful places that I have traveled to in a way that is educational,” says Lasseter, who is based in Prescott, Arizona. “I love working with clients who are interested in learning about the geography, the geology, the archaeology and the natural history̶all my interests as a science teacher, Spanish instructor, outdoorsman and experiential learning specialist.”


When it comes down to it, Stewart Lasseter is a teacher, and one who knows that the outdoor classroom is where real learning takes place. He has spent more than 20 years pursuing educational adventures across the Americas and Europe - navigating the roaring white waters of rugged destinations like Wyoming and West Virginia, mountain biking the most unbeaten of craggy paths in North and South America, and becoming as intimately familiar with the cliffs and valleys of Arizona’s Grand Canyon as the roaming coyotes.


Throughout his explorations, he has embraced the culture, history and science of the natural world. Lasseter’s affinity for the outdoors and vast knowledge form the foundation for his business, Wanderland Travel, a travel company committed to activity, volunteerism and, most importantly, learning. Lasseter’s skilled Wanderland co-founders include technology expert and backcountry enthusiast Eric Nelson, marketing guru, anthropologist, and scuba diver Brice Jones, and wellness expert, river otter, and backcountry skier John E. Griffin III.


Wanderland’s programs introduce small groups of clients̶typically 6 to 10 people̶to the world’s treasures, lands that need attention and the people of those lands who could benefit from local tourism and volunteer efforts.


LIFESTYLE │ TRAVEL


Wanderland offers both custom and scheduled explorations through www.WanderlandTravel.org. Each one of the company’s travel destinations involves UNESCO̶the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization̶as well as a designation as either a World Heritage Site, Biosphere Reserve, Bio-Gem, National Park or Conservancy. For example, Wanderland travelers can study the gray whales and the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve along California’s Baja Peninsula or learn about the Araucarian and Valdivian forests in South America’s Andean lake district and Patagonia. Stewart explains, “There are places that get a lot of attention, but there are many more places that need our attention. We believe that responsible travel can help to preserve the special ecosystems and cultures of our planet through informative and collaborative itineraries.”


And, of course, the trips will keep you moving. “You can hike, bike, trek, kayak, raft, and build team dynamics during your Wanderland adventures,” says Lasseter. “At the same time, you can help the elders of Havasupai (North American Indians) in their gardens, build organic farming into isolated communities in Argentina, Costa Rica and Chile, help preserve ancient rock art in the Atacama region of Chile, and fortify trails into Chile’s majestic Cochamó Valley. Our professional educators will teach you about the geography, geology, botany, wildlife, language immersion, cultures, history, archaeology, current events and even oenology and zymurgy.” Wanderland educators do more than instruct, they interpret, notes Lasseter, adding, “Interpretation blends education, improvisation and provocation to inspire you to think and to make your experience personal and authentic.”


In keeping with its service orientation, Wanderland adheres to the tenets of Fair Trade, ensuring that its travel programs around the world leverage the expertise of local companies, services and families. “We want the resources to stay in local communities and create sustainability for those communities,” says Lasseter. “Wanderland travelers know that they are going through one educational provider who is sourcing directly from the people living and working in the destinations to which they travel. This way a greater percentage of the money our clients spend for their educational adventure will remain with those local communities.”


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